Lost Children

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Lost Children
The child walks down the path. The child looks left and right at each fork. At each fork a sign points in the direction the child is assigned to walk down. Left right, left right follow the path. Do as you are told. Do not question. March along like a good child. Do not upset the system This path is meant for you. Do not divert from it or you will be doomed to a life on the outskirts of society. The child continues down the path. Slowly the child is educated. The child is told what to think, when to think, taught to never question. The father along the path the child walks the more the child loses. The sense of adventure inborn in the child is slowly stripped away. Curiosity, the child soon learns will get them nowhere. Imagination is frowned upon. This is the path children are placed on by the system of education in place today. This education system places importance on being able to follow directions. Children who follow directions, children who follow the rules are ushered along this path. It is an easy path, there is no need to think for oneself. Follow the signs and you will be led to a life of happiness. Choose your own path and be cast into the shadows. Lost. Although the modern education system is able to turn out students who are educated, it does not prepare them for the real world. In the real world a path must be found that will lead a child to grow into an adult who has a sense of who they are. A sense of what they want in life. Reading the childrens stories “The Red Tree” and “Lost & Found” by Shaun Tan it is possible to look into the world of two children lost along a path set out by the modern education system. To explore the world of a child who has found another path that leads to a fulfilling life we look to the childrens story “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak. Using these stories as teaching tools it will be possible to circumvent the path set out by the modern education system.

The first story “The Lost Thing” takes place in a lost world. A world that will soon come into fruition if the way children are educated does not change. The world portrayed in this story is a dark world. Gritty industrial, populated with lost children who have grown into lost adults. Rules and regulations make this world turn. Just as in the modern education system. Signs on every corner control the masses. Children accustomed to following directions grow into thoughtless automatons. Marching to the drumbeat embedded in their heads by an education system out of control. This world is full of lost things. In Tan’s story a young man comes upon a lost thing. A lost thing, among lost people, in a lost world. A throwback to a forgotten time. A time when imagination, curiosity, and a sense of adventure were valued. This lost thing embodies these forgotten ideals. A young man first encounters the lost thing. Seeing it and interactions with it he states, “As the hours slouched by it seemed less and less likely that anybody was coming to take the thing home. There was no denying the unhappy truth of the situation. It was lost.”

Looking at “The Red Tree” a detailed picture of a child educated under the current system of education emerges. This child is lost on a path that leads to depression and a sense of not belonging. On the page the narrator states, “The world is a deaf machine.” The world created by the education system refuses to hear the voice of students. Instead it seeks to indoctrinate students, to fill there heads with knowledge the system has deemed it necessary to know. All the while ignoring the creative spark crucial to human beings. This creative spark drives children to new discoveries, new ideas and ways of thinking. A powerful image in the story shows the child surrounded by adults marching by, oblivious to her. Their heads bowed faces mute and expressionless. The girl looks to her abdomen, a door is open and there inside a light bulb dimly shines out. The oppressive nature of the...
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